AS Muslims globally commence this year’s (Hijrah 1433) Ramadan fasting, the faithful have been urged to explore the spiritual exercise to promote unity and peaceful coexistence in the country.
In their goodwill messages yesterday, National Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), National President, Nasril-Lahi-Fathi Society (NASFAT), Alhaji Sheriff Yusuf, National Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Dr. Ishaq Akintola; and Bauchi-based Islamic scholar, Ustaz Muhammad Albashir, told Muslim Ummah across the country to commence fasting immediately as soon as lunar of Ramadan is sighted.
In a statement yesterday, NSCIA headquarters said that in accordance with the prophetic tradition, Muslim faithful and the Moon Sighting Committee to be on the look out for the new cresent on Thursday July 19, being the 29th day of Sha’aban 1433AH, and should communicate same to the appropriate authority.
According to the statement: “Prophet Muhammed (SAW) instructed the Muslims, saying: Do not fast unless you see the Crescent (of the month of Sha’aban). But if the sky is overcast, count thirty (30) days of Sha’aban or of Ramadan as the case maybe,” (Narrated by Abdullahi Bin Umar.).
Legal Adviser of NSCIA, Alhaji Muritala Aminu, who also spoke, but on behalf of the Executive Secretary of NSCIA, Alhaji Lateef Adegbite who was reportedly ill and rushed too an undisclosed hospital, urged Muslims to pray for Nigerian and the sick scholar.
“The Islamic Brothers and Sisters should fast in accordance with the dictates of Quran and hadiths of Prophet Muhammed (S.W.A) to further stress to the world that we are peace-loving people and not criminal nor terrorists,” Yusuf said.
Albashir stressed the need for uniform fasting from the commencement and ending of the exercise, urging wealthy Muslims to exercise great compassion to the needy during and after the period.
Meanwhile, Borno State Government has relaxed the dust to dawn curfew imposed in the state because of violence to between 9.00 p.m. and 6.00 a.m. The move, The Guardian learnt would also enable Muslims fast and attend Tafsir (preaching) during the fasting.
Governor Kashim Shettima, in an interview with newsmen at Gwoza, said Borno State Security Council reviewed the 11-hour curfew to nine hours, so as to enable Muslims perform Ramadan Fasting, which would commence tomorrow.
The Joint Task Force (JTF) Operation Restore Order in the state, in a statement by its spokesman, Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa yesterday, said because of the fact that Ramadan fasting would commence July 20, 2012, it was expedient to review the curfew timing imposed in council areas in the state.
“The JTF hereby inform the general public that henceforth, the curfew has been reduced from 7pm-6am to 9pm-6am daily, commencing July 18, 2012. JTF wishes to appreciate the cooperation and understanding between law abiding members of the public and security agencies during this period and to emphasise that security is a collective responsibility,” the statement quoted.
Meanwhile, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) yesterday ended physical camping exercise in all its orientation camps nationwide, four days ahead of the scheduled closing, in reference to the commencement of the Ramadan fasting.
In a statement yesterday, NYSC explained that early ending to camping activities was to enable Muslims Corps Members partake fully in the fasting exercise. It, however, added that the pronouncement does not interpret to official ending to camping, as its stressed that members would have to remain in orientation camp until the official closing day, Month, in order for them to collect their posting letters for their primary assignment.
“The decision by the NYSC Management is in anticipation of the commencement of Ramadan fast on Friday, July 20 or Saturday, July 21, 2012. However, the official closing date for the orientation course still remains Monday, July 23, 20012. All corps members will therefore remain in camp, and will collect their letters of posting to places of primary assignment on Monday, July 23, 2012,” the statement was quoted.
Also, as part of preparation for a smooth fasting, the Federal Road Safety Commission, Jigawa State Command, has cautioned commercial motorcycle riders and other motoring public residents in the state to avoid impatient-induced recklessness driving and subsequently automobile accident, arising from the need to catch up with their religious obligation (solat) during the Ramadan month.
The Sector Commandant, Aminu Umar, who stated this during a press conference in his office yesterday in Dutse, said that Ramadan Fast is a religious obligation that should be observed in that light rather than transferring the pain on other road users. He added that major cause of automobile accident in the state, was impatient by drivers.
According to him: “One of the most important thing I want to bring out is the fact that we are approaching the Ramadan period and that is when we have a lot of impatience mounting especially in the afternoon and in the evening when the fasting will be biting hard on individuals but one should know that it is a religious obligation and you need not transfer any aggression to a fellow road user.
“You are supposed to be calm and patient where there is traffic so that everything can go smoothly. You need to have patience, which is one of the teachings of Islam that we need to imbibe at all times not only in Ramadan. So, impatience is one of the causes of problems among road users,” Umar added.
Ramadan is a period that faithful engage in spiritual exercise that naturally restrain them from eating, drinking, smoking and or engaging in sexual intercourse from dawn till sunset. Besides these physical components, the faithful are generally expected to restrain from all uncomplimentary activities or deeds that can vitiate the rewards of the exercise. Some of these activities include stealing, fighting, jealous, malice, adulteration, gossiping, lying, slandering and all traits of bad characters.
Quran 2 verse 183, fasting is a mandatory spiritual exercise to be observed by all faithful Muslims, who follows and believes the messages of Allah: “ O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, so that you attain taqwa (self-restraint),” Quran is quoted.
“A fasting person’s aim is to attain purity of thought and action. The act of fasting redirects the hearts away from worldly mundane activities, towards Allah – the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth. The month of Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection, prayer, and recitation of the Qur’an, doing Zikr, endurance and self-discipline. It is a month of training – training the soul and body- to be able to exercise self-restraint.
“The fasting Muslim is continuously tied with rules and regulations for an entire month and then released for 11 months to see whether the training has been adequate and effective. During this month the personality of a Muslim develops so that during the rest of the year, the trained Muslim does not commit wrong under unrestricted conditions. Ramadan is a month to purify ourselves. Fasting helps to overcome bad habits either gradually for some of us or immediately for those with a stronger will power,” a formidable international Islamic website, islamiccenter.org, is quoted on its Ramadan message to Muslims yesterday.